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A U.S. district court judge is considering whether to order that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube be reinserted. The action came soon after Congress passed emergency legislation allowing the case to be turned over to federal court. President Bush signed the law overnight.


Do you think it is the place of Congress override the Florida court system?

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Guest Human

U.S. District Judge James Whittemore, who was nominated to the court in 1999 by President Clinton set a hearing for 3 p.m. to consider a request fromTerri Schiavo' s parents to have feeding resumed for the 41-year-old woman.


As odd as it may be it's still in the Democrats court. Considering the out cry from the democrats that she be allowed to die by dehydration, and starvation (the dehydration part is the cruelest of the two options,) and that the democrats find these options to be perfectly fine????


It would have been more merciful to just give her several shots to put her to sleep, then going the way that she is going. (Christ!!!! convicted Murderers are put to death in this way, and it's relatively painless. For a person "who hasn't broken any laws" to be put to death in this manner is barbaric.)



Convicted Murderers are put to death in a more humane way than Terri Schiavo.

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Guest Human

For those who don't understand why this is such a big issue; the husband only got a CATSCAN, and not an MRI of her brain" please note that a CATSCAN only shows the structure of the brain, an MRI shows the Tissue. In other words the MRI shows the brain area affected.


A simple little MRI would have put all of this "mess" to rest.


By the way Terri Schiavo will Die of dehydration, and not starvation.

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March 20th, 2005 - I rise today to speak about a bill that will give Terri Schiavo another chance. The bill we pass centers on the sanctity of human life. It is bipartisan, bicameral legislation. The House of Representatives is considering the exact same bill today. After the Senate and House pass this legislation, the President will sign it immediately into law.


There has been a lot of discussion about what this bill actually does. Let me explain: simply put, it allows Terri’s case to be heard in a federal court. This legislation permits a federal district judge to consider a claim on behalf of Terri for alleged violations of Constitutional rights or federal laws relating to the withholding of food, water or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life.


This bill guarantees a process to help Terri, but does not guarantee a particular outcome. Once a new case is filed, a federal district judge can issue a stay at any time, 24 hours a day. A stay would allow Terri to be fed once again. The judge has discretion on this decision. However, I would expect that a federal judge would grant a stay under these circumstances because Terri would need to live in order for the court to consider the case.


If a new suit goes forward, the federal judge must conduct what’s called “de novo” review of the case. De novo review means the judge must look at the case anew. The judge need not rely on or defer to the decisions of previous judges. The judge also may make new findings of fact. Practically, this means that in a new case, the judge can reevaluate and reassess Terri’s medical condition.


I would like to make a few other points about this bill. First, it is a unique bill passed under unique circumstances that should not serve as a precedent for future legislation. Second, this bill will not impede any state’s existing laws regarding assisted suicide. Finally, in this bill, Congress acknowledges that we should take a closer look at the legal rights of incapacitated individuals in the future.


While this bill will create a new federal cause of action, I still encourage the Florida legislature to act on Terri’s behalf. This new federal law will help Terri, but it should not be her only remaining option.


Remember Terri is alive.


She is not in a coma. Although there are a range of opinions, neurologists who have examined her insist today that she is not in a persistent vegetative state. She breathes on her own – like you on me. She is not on a respirator. She is not on life support of any type. She does not have a terminal condition.


Moreover, she has a mom and father and siblings – her closest blood relatives – who love her, who say she is responsive to them, who want her to live, who will financially support her.


These are the facts.


We in the Senate recognize that it is extraordinary that we act. But these are extraordinary circumstances that center on the most fundamental of human values – the sanctity of human life.


The level of cooperation and thoughtful consideration surrounding this legislative effort on behalf of my colleagues has been remarkable. I want to thank Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid for his leadership on this issue. He and I have been in close contact throughout this process. I also want to thank my Democratic colleagues who expressed their concerns but have allowed us to move forward. I particularly want to thank Senators Mel Martinez, Rick Santorum, Tom Harkin, and Kent Conrad, for their dedication in shepherding this legislation. This is bipartisan, bicameral legislation


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Guest Rabbi Avi Shafran (212) 797-9000

The parents of Amerian woman Terri Schiavo saw their options vanish one by one today as a federal appeals court refused to re-insert her feeding tube and the Florida Legislature decided not to intervene in the epic struggle.


Refusing to give up, Florida Governor Jeb Bush sought court permission to take custody of Schiavo.


The desperate flurry of activity came as President George W Bush suggested Congress and the White House had done all they could to keep the severely brain-damaged woman alive.


As of this afternoon, Schiavo had gone five full days without food or water; doctors have said she could survive one to two weeks.


A spokesman for the national Orthodox Jewish organization appealed to Mr. Schiavo to "recognize that what a court may consider legal can still constitute a grave violation of a higher law," and asked him to "please

allow your wife to continue to live."


"None of us can claim to know what constitutes a meaningful existence," Rabbi Avi Shafran, the organization's director of public affairs continued, "and all of us have a responsibility to preserve even severely compromised

human life."

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Guest Bullocks

People really need to understand Michael Schiavo to understand this case. Mr. Schiavo has only rarely spoken to the press, he gave an interview to ABC News' Chris Bury as the bill moves through the state legislature and the day for removing his wife's feeding tube approaches.


The following is a transcript of their conversation.




BURY: Joining us now from Dunedin, Fla., Michael Schiavo and his lawyer George Felos.


Michael, you've had very little to say outside of what's been filed in the legal briefs over the last year or so. Why have you decided to come out tonight and have something to say?


SCHIAVO: The reason why I've been keeping private for the longest time ever here, I've always wanted to protect my wife's privacy. I don't like — I didn't want to put her picture all over the news. I just wanted to keep her private.


And today, and what's going on in the legislation, is really the reason why I'm starting to speak out, because it's outrageous.


BURY: When you say the legislation, I assume what you're talking about is the bill back now in the Florida legislature, which actually passed a committee in the legislature today and could be on Governor Bush's desk by Friday, which is the same day that Terri's feeding tubes are to be removed. Is that right?


SCHIAVO: That's correct.


You know, it's really uncomprehensible to think that a private family matter that has gone through the judiciary system for the past seven years — I mean, we're talking all the way up to the United States Supreme Court — and for a governor to come into this without any education on the subject and push his personal views into this and have his Republican legislation pass laws so that this doesn't happen.



He's basically jumping right over the state court's decision. We might as well not have any state courts.


BURY: Just, Michael, so we can all understand the legislation — as I understand it, this would require that before the feeding tubes could be removed from someone in a vegetative state, they would have had to have left written instructions to the effect that that was OK with that. Is that correct?


SCHIAVO: That's what they're trying to pass now, yes.


BURY: And let me ask your lawyer, George Felos: How problematic is this legislation for you?


FELOS: Chris, this is the second time this has happened.


As everyone knows, in October 2003 the governor sent armed men to Terri's death bed, took her to a hospital and had surgery performed on her against her will.


The Florida Supreme Court said that was unconstitutional, and it also said there is absolutely nothing the Florida legislature can pass that can undo the result in Terri Schiavo's case. Yet, in response to political pressure, the legislature is poised to pass another unconstitutional bill.


And not only that, it's not just Floridians' rights that are at stake, but everyone in the country. There is a bill in the United States Congress, and this bill in the United States Congress would virtually let any family member bring a federal court habeas corpus proceeding, which would tie up a case like that for years in federal court, which would make it virtually impossible for anyone to remove artificial life support.


And I want to mention, too, for everyone listening out there, this bill, filed in federal court, does not pertain just to vegetative patients. It doesn't pertain just to removal of feeding tubes. It pertains to removal or refusal of any type of medical treatment.


BURY: Just for the sake of argument, if this Florida bill moves through the legislature and Governor Bush signs it as early as Friday, does that move the whole thing back into the courts?


SCHIAVO: Well, we'll have to see what, in fact, passes on Friday.


It may very well delay implementation of Terri's rights. We certainly hope that it will not. But it is beyond any doubt that the Florida Supreme Court will once again declare such a law unconstitutional.


BURY: Michael, did Terri, your wife, leave any kind of written instructions about her wishes?


read more here



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Guest jb-williams.com

The GAL concludes from the medical records and consultations with medical experts that the scope and weight of the medical information within the file concerning Theresa Schiavo consists of competent, well documented information that she is in a persistent vegetative state with no likelihood of improvement, and that the neurological and speech pathology evidence in the file support the contention that she cannot take oral nutrition or hydration and cannot consciously interact with her environment. The GAL concludes that the trier of fact and the evidence that served as the basis for the decisions regarding Theresa Schiavo were firmly grounded within Florida statutory and case law, which clearly and unequivocally provide for the removal of artificial nutrition in cases of persistent vegetative states, where there is no advance directive, through substituted/proxy judgment of the guardian and/or the court as guardian, and with the use of evidence regarding the medical condition and the intent of the parties that was deemed, by the trier of fact to be clear and convincing.


Of Michael Schiavo, there is the incorrect perception that he has refused to relinquish his guardianship because of financial interests, and more recently, because of allegations that he actually abused Theresa and seeks to hide this. There is no evidence in the record to substantiate any of these perceptions or allegations.


Until and unless there is objective, fresh, mutually agreed upon closure regarding measurable and well accepted scientific bases for deducing Theresa's clinical state, Theresa will not be done justice. There must be at least a degree of trust with respect to a process that the factions competing for Theresa's best interest can agree. To benefit Theresa, and in the overall interests of justice, good science, and public policy, there needs to be a fresh, clean-hands start.


The Schindlers and the Schiavos are normal, decent people who have found themselves within the construct of an exceptional circumstance which none of them, indeed, few reasonable and normal people could have imagined. As a consequence of this circumstance, extensive urban mythology has created toxic clouds, causing the parties and others to behave in ways that may not, in the order of things, serve the best interests of the ward.



Contact Information:


Jay Wolfson, Dr.P.H., J.D.


Office: CPH 1126


E-Mail: jwolfson@hsc.usf.edu


Voice Mail: (813) 974-6643


FAX: (813) 974-6642



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  • 2 months later...
Guest Nancy Frazier O'Brien

The autopsy results on Terri Schindler Schiavo are irrelevant to the church's stand in support of her human dignity and against removal of her feeding tube in March, a Catholic pro-life official said June 16.


"Our position was not based on predictions about her likelihood of recovery," said Richard M. Doerflinger, deputy director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, in a telephone interview from Chicago. "It was based on her dignity as a human person."


Schiavo, 41, died March 31, nearly two weeks after her nutrition and hydration tube was removed following a contentious seven-year battle between her husband and her parents. She had been in what doctors described as a persistent vegetative state since 1990, when her brain was deprived of oxygen after her heart stopped.


Dr. Jon R. Thogmartin, medical examiner for Pinellas and Pasco counties in Florida, said in a televised news conference June 15 that Schiavo's autopsy showed that the brain damage she suffered in 1990 was irreversible.


"No amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons," he said.


Thogmartin said Schiavo died of "marked dehydration," not starvation, but that the underlying cause for her collapse 15 years ago could not be determined.


"The only diagnosis that I know for sure is that her brain went without oxygen," he added. "Why? That is undetermined."


Dr. Stephen Milton, a neuropathologist, also participated in the news conference and said, "There was nothing in the autopsy that is inconsistent with persistent vegetative state."


Doerflinger said some of the conclusions in the autopsy seemed "off base," such as the determination that there was no evidence that Schiavo had an eating disorder before her collapse and the assumption that the shriveling of her brain indicated massive brain damage.


When any person is deprived of water for two weeks, his or her brain is likely to shrink, he said.


Doerflinger also said there is "no established degree of brain damage" that cannot be reversed. "There are people walking around whose cerebral cortexes have been largely destroyed," he said.


Dr. Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, also criticized the autopsy report, saying it was part of the "typical misleading about doctoring and medicine" that is becoming common.


"I'm not contending that she did or did not have PVS (persistent vegetative state)," he said in a June 17 phone interview. "Either way, that doesn't excuse killing her."


Writing in the June issue of Commentary, a monthly magazine published by the American Jewish Committee, McHugh recalled his early work "as both student and teacher in caring for patients like Terri Schiavo with neuro-psychiatric disorders." He remembered in particular a patient who had once been "the foremost clinical scientist in America" but who "gave little evidence of awareness" 13 years after a botched brain operation.


One day in front of a group of interns, however, the patient responded correctly and in a full sentence to a scientific question posed by McHugh.


"Somehow, deep inside that body and damaged brain, he was there -- and our job was to help him," McHugh wrote. "If we had ever had misgivings before, we would never again doubt the value of caring for people like him. And we didn't give a fig that his EEG was grossly abnormal."


Similarly, Terri Schiavo "was alive," McHugh said in the phone interview. "That's all I as a doctor care about."


He criticized the mind-set that says, "You're worthy if you're productive, and if you're not productive, you're not worthy of life."


"I'm not going to judge if a patient is worthy," he said. "I'm here to benefit the lives of patients."


The Schindler family -- Terri Schiavo's parents, brother and sister -- said in a statement released at the National Right to Life Committee convention in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington that the autopsy report confirmed what they already knew about "Terri's physical condition and disability."


"We all knew Terri was seriously brain-injured," the statement said. The report "also confirms that Terri was not terminal, that Terri had no living will, that Terri had a strong heart and that Terri was brutally dehydrated to death."


"The moral shame of what happened is not erased because of Terri's level of disability," the Schindlers added. "No one would say that 'blind people' or 'brain-injured' people should be put to death. That would be an irresponsible and heartless position to take. Tragically, that is what happened to Terri. As a society, it seems that we have lost our compassion for the disabled."


Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, who visited Schiavo hours before her death, said in a statement that she "did not die from an atrophied brain."


"She died from an atrophy of compassion on the part of her estranged husband and those who helped him to have her deliberately killed," he said.

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